USA TODAY Sports
Last year, the Chicago Bears got off to a hot start only to fall short of the playoffs. Today at the combine, Bears GM Phil Emery spoke about his team's future and the 2013 draft.
Q: Are you going to franchise tag Henry Melton?
A: Am I going to franchise tag Henry Melton? Way to go, Brad. Way to lead. We’ll work through that situation, obviously. We’ll be talking to Henry and when we come to a conclusion everybody will know.
Q: Seen the new combine test?
A: We have not. I’m excited to see the content of that. And more importantly, how it’s scored, how you evaluate the test in terms of projecting it into the athlete and his performance on the field.
Q: General idea?
A: I got to think it’s more along the lines of a lot of different testing modes that are out there that are beyond the Wonderlic. There are various ways that people test practical intelligence, or practical applied intelligence. We are one of the clubs that prescribes to one of those testing companies. Our’s is HRT, Human Resource Testing. You know, everyone has their own mode. The most important part of it is understanding the test, understanding the content, and how to gauge the results and where it takes you. This is the third different type of test that I’ve been involved with. This would be the fourth. So it would be interesting to see how it compares to the others and what kind of content and quality you get out of it.
Q: Inaudible question.
A: All testing and measurable data, you’re using that as a determining factor to maybe separating players. So you may have two players that are very similar, that might have the same grade. Or you might have five at any one position that have the same grade. Then that is a way to help you determine how you stack it, one through five. Those type of metrics – the psychological testing – all those things factor in terms of creating separation between players so if you pick them in the order from the highest to the lowest.
Q: Pro and college?
A: It helps us on both sides. Personnel period. So yes, pro and college.
Q: Strike balance between informing fans and keeping secrets?
A: I want them to know about the process. I think that’s important that they understand the process that we go through. There’s going to be certain information that we’re not going to divulge because it’s a very competitive business. I think it’s the most competitive business in the world, the NFL. So there’s going to be certain things we’re not going to talk about in terms of how we rank players, both our team, the UFA market and the college players. Be glad to talk about the content and the quality of the overall class but how we rank them, how we see them, that’s going to remain in-house for those competitive reasons.
Q: Example of how information got out and hurt you?
A: I won’t give you a specific year. But I have been in a draft room where way too much information was given out and we were jumped on a player we liked and we had planned on drafting. That player was drafted in front of us based on information that… there was just too much information that that was our player. So that was an uncomfortable feeling. When you focused as a staff – coaches and scouts and the building – you’re excited that you’ve got this player you really desire and he’s your guy. And you have figured out all the scenarios, that that’s your guy and you don’t get him, the room deflates a little. So we want to do everything we can to avoid that. We want to make sure that there may be one or two people that know who that actual guy is and that’s about it. So we don’t want to give out information so that we create, ‘Hey, everybody knows that that’s Chicago’s right tackle. That’s the guy they want.’ So I’m on one of those other 31 teams, and I need a right tackle, I got to get in front of Chicago.
Q: Position Carimi will be playing?
A: Coaches are going to work through that during OTAs, during the winter, get to know Gabe, get to see what his strengths and weaknesses are. Obviously, they’ve seen some things on tape. I think they see upside to him as a tackle or guard. So we’ll find out through the process, and that’ll take all the way through camp, to find his exact position.
Q: Flexible position for Gabe?
A: I do see that he has some flexibility. Gabe had some rough moments during the year. He had some good moments during the year. And he had some really good run-blocking moments. There are areas he needs to improve as a pass blocker. But he had good moments both at guard and at tackle.
Q: Size up overall draft class?
A: There are several. When I look at it, there are a number of corners in this draft class that can play and they can help teams as a 1, 2, or 3. I would say that’s a strength. There’s a strong safety class. In our minds, there are five or six starters in this class at safety and that’s rare to me. There’s a really good number – between tackles and end – of players that can help teams and can be potential starters. The offensive line class has strength in the front end, when you look at it from tackle, guard and center, and you look all the way through. There are a number of players who would be in the mix as starters.
Q: Seen so far from Trestman and Cutler relationship?
A: Under the current CBA rules, it’s really a matter of saying hello and introducing yourself and talking. And that was positive. They’re off to a good start.
Q: How close is Trestman to that 13-month plan?
A: Right on and accelerated. Very detailed, very thorough, very intelligent. Great listener. So I would say we’re right on.
A: I want them to get better as football players and be more productive. Grow in their knowledge of the game, and be better players overall. Very satisfied with where they were at as rookies. Obviously, they both had some dings. I want them to be healthier, but that’s the nature of the game. I want them to be better and more productive so they can help us at a higher level and win football games.
Q: How was Joe DeCamillas during the head coach interview and why hire him as a S-T coach?
A: He was an excellent interview. For those who know Joe D in the coaching community, and throughout the league, he’s a very detailed, well-prepared individual. We sat down and he had an iPad ready for me, and an iPad ready for himself and he said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ I had to slow him down a little bit. I wanted to revisit with him. We had worked together, but I wanted him to take me back through his career then we moved forward. He had an excellent interview.
Q: Why was it important to get him on staff?
A: I was extremely surprised and felt very good that we were able to get him on this staff. Obviously, we had lost Dave [Toub] – he had moved to the Chiefs – and we interviewed Joe D for the head coaching position so I felt very good about him as a coach and glad to have him.
Q: How does Knox situation affect your need at receiver?
A: Anytime you lose a player of that quality and that kind of speed, it does impact you. To say [not] would be silly. It does impact us. We’ll look at all avenues in terms of finding someone who can add to that mix at receiver.
Q: Specifically a speed receiver?
A: I would say more specifically to find the best player that can help us.
Q: Small step or big step to catch up to Atlanta and Green Bay?
A: This is a very competitive league and or goal is to win it all. It always has been. I think the Chicago Bears want to be out in front. But we know it’s a long road to get to that spot. As far as closing the gap, every game will determine that. As I said last summer, we’re a team that’s going to have to earn it and this won’t be any different. You have to earn your way in this league and you have to stay in it through the end. A surprising number of teams have shown us that if you’re there in the end, you’ve got a heck of a chance. Baltimore certainly showed [that].
Q: What does linebacker J.T. Thomas need to do?
A: J.T. Thomas has to continue to improve in terms of the football end of it on regular downs. He’s got to grow as a player in his knowledge and how he fits into our defense. We’re expecting him to do that during OTAs and camp and see where he goes.
Q: Turnover on your staff, so how much can you build on 10-win season?
A: I look at every team as being a new team, whether there’s a turnover or not, it would be a new team. So we’ve got to earn our way. Obviously, we have a new staff and I’m very enthused about that staff, and I’m enthused about our opportunities between the UFA market and street free agents and the draft and college free agents to add talent to our team. And along with this staff build something that’s very good.
Q: With new staff, any different thought on using Shea?
A: Right now he’s a d-end and he’ll remain a d-end. If there’s something in him that sparks us in terms of he’s got versatility. Like he did last year, he stood up in certain situations. But we’re not going to put an umbrella around him. We’re going to use his talents, his athleticism, his speed, his savvy, to the best we can, and whatever our coaches can concoct as far as a plan for him, we’ll use every ounce of it. He is a d-end. That’s his position. We’re excited about him as a pass rusher. We want to get him on the field more on regular down situations. And where his versatility is, that’s a plus for him. So if he ends being a linebacker in some situations, then good.
Q: Does the Urlacher situation effect your decision making?
A: We look at every player as a unique player. The qualities he brings probably you say when you fill the roster, how many linebackers we have has an impact. But right now, where we’re at in the process, we’re here to look at really good players and see if they fit. That is part of what we do. Yes, we’re going to look at college players and see how they fit against what we have on our roster and what we could potentially add. and that’s same thing that’s true with UFAs.
Q: One way or another with him?
A: We’re not at that point yet.
Q: When evaluating o-linemen, what are you looking for?
A: I don’t think it’s any different. What you want in an offensive lineman, No. 1, is production. You want guys that produce consistently and you call those guys starters. So consistently good as a pass protector, consistently good as run blockers. You’re looking for guys that have the size, mass and strength and quickness to accomplish that at the NFL level. Those defensive linemen are, on average, more athletic than their counterparts on offense. You also have to have someone who has good football sense or smarts and has good toughness, because he’s going to have to bounce back to reach that consistent level when he normally plays against someone who may have a little more speed and quickness than he does.
Q: Lance Louis update?
A: We’re going to have to work through that. Lance has been very diligent in his rehab and we’re pleased with his progress. So at some point, we’ll sit down with his agents and work through that.